Early this morning, Friday 6th December, 2019, I received a distress call from Saw Diamond Khin, Director of the Karen Department of Health & Welfare. We work together on my herbal project which is beginning to offer small, sustainable & organic livelihoods to the displaced Karen community which is under his care. His urgent need for help is for WARM clothes (small sizes please, especially childrens’ clothes) towels & bedding.
Most Karen people sleep on the ground – on bare concrete or the bare earth. How cold was it in the mountains around and behind Doi Inthanon last night?
The Karen people have been pushed up hard against the Burmese border during what is now the longest recorded civil conflict – over 60 years. As non Thai people they do not have the right to travel (mostly having no papers) and the conflict zones they have fled from have been burned and remain littered with landmines.
Thailand’s generosity of spirit is actually amazing, and these people out an existence along the mountainous border. The local Thai farming communities are poor and have little themselves to share.
We already sent up a BIG consignment of clothes, sheets etc last week – stuff we have collected from travelers, local people, and farang people leaving town. Special thanks to Vanessa & Wade. Some of it I bought from expat moms, since very small baby clothes are really hard to find. Saw Diamond Khin sent me some pictures of the distribution to Karen families a few days ago.
We need a WHOLE LOT MORE. Clean, serviceable, functional clothing in smaller sizes. Blankets, towels, sleeping mats. Baby and children’s things are in high demand. Backpacks and carry bags are super useful, too, for people who are on the move. As you can see, these people are not exactly kitted out for a cold day in the mountains, let alone overnight temperatures hovering around zero.
How can you get your donation directly to these people?
Saw Diamond Khin will liaise with me to collect next weekend – if necessary, I will drive over with everything on Sunday 15th December – a 4.0 hour drive each way. We are still facing 2 full months of these temperatures!!
How to get your clothing to us?
1. I will be retailing at the GIS International Christmas Fair tomorrow. I have small truck, so you can deliver any contribution to me there.
2. You can deliver your donation to Amaravati Wellness Center in Mae Rim and I will pick up from Khun Ritthee end of next week.
3. You can deliver your donation to 7 Senses Gelato Studio in Nimman Soi 11 – our good friend Stefano will hold your donation and I will pick up from him end of next week.
4. IF you are attending the SKAL Christmas event, you can bring your donation tomorrow night, December 7th, and give it to me, Marike, personally.
5. If you have a LOT of stuff to donate and no transport, please message me and I can arrange a personal collection next Thursday or Friday.
6. You can SEND a box of donations to Saw Diamond Khun very inexpensively on Kerry Express. Message me for the Karen Department of Health and Welfare address & contact details, or see their website at https://kdhw.org
7. You can also transfer a cash donation to Karen Dept of Health & Welfare so they can BUY whatever is available locally in the way of second hand clothing & bedding. But suffice it to say that it’s in high demand in the mountains and there is little warm stuff available.
8. You can head over to Tiger or Zoro second hand clothing and BUY a few warm things to share-send, if you have nothing yourself to donate.
Community means making sure no one goes without. These stateless, displaced people – often with no nationality and living rough – are part of our extended Chiang Mai world.
Please dig deep and be in touch if you have abundance to share.